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Manchester City and Arsenal battle to win the Premier League

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Graphic by Sean Rogers/The Olaf Messenger

 

To many soccer enthusiasts, there may be nothing more exciting than a title race; two teams battling to the very end for one trophy can create enough drama to satisfy lovers of Shakespearean tragedies. In the English Premier League (EPL), we have just that. With two weeks left, Arsenal finds itself one point ahead of Manchester City, often referred to as City. But, with three games left to play compared to Arsenal’s two, Manchester City can secure their fourth-consecutive title if they win out. With five title-implicating matches remaining, here’s a preview.

 

First, a quick disclaimer: as a diehard Arsenal fan since fifth grade, my emotional investment is tremendous. However, to uphold the integrity of this article, and The Olaf Messenger, I will try my hardest to exclude bias.

 

Since Manchester City typically has a star-studded lineup,there seldom is one player that stands out. However, this year has been Phil Foden’s year. With 16 goals and eight assists, Foden has been integral to City’s success and will likely win Premier League Player of the Season if City secures the title. Behind Foden in the midfield is the ever-steady Rodri. It’s simple: when Rodri plays, Manchester City doesn’t lose. The defensive midfielder’s last defeat in the EPL was in February 2023, a staggering reflection of his importance. We also cannot forget about Erling Haaland. Though experiencing a “down year” that has, at times, seen him benched, the demigod-like Norwegian leads the league with 25 goals. If he adds a few goals to his tally, look for City to four-peat.

 

Following his transfer worth around $130 million, Declan Rice has been a machine in Arsenal’s midfield. Masterfully connecting defense and attack, Rice has been Arsenal’s most important player. As Rice does the dirty work, Bukayo Saka and Kai Havertz supply the goals. Saka’s unpredictability and brilliant final product has led to 25 goal contributions this season. Havertz, signed last summer for $82 million, has scored 12 goals for his new club, despite initial struggles which had many fans labeling him a “flop.” Still needing help from Man City’s opponents, Arsenal will rely on this trio to ensure that Premier League glory is within reach.

 

On May 12, Arsenal faces a difficult test: an away game against Manchester United. While City’s cross-town rivals have struggled this season, United players will no doubt want to spoil Arsenal’s title hopes and defend home field. On May 11, City will play away at 13th-placed Fulham and on May 14, 5th-placed Tottenham. City should defeat Fulham, but their game away at Tottenham, Arsenal’s fiercest rivals, should be a barnburner as Tottenham must win to secure a place in next year’s Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League. On the final day, Arsenal host Everton and City host West Ham, games that both sides should win comfortably. 

 

After a dramatic season, the fate of the Premier League will, almost certainly, be decided on the final day. My prediction: Arsenal wins both matches while City wins two, but draws against Tottenham, meaning Arsenal wins its first Premier League title since 2004.

 

atchis1@stolaf.edu

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